This page includes guidelines and procedures for Specific Purpose Funds, Internal Reserves, Unidentified Receipts, and Account Code 731200 usage.

Specific Purpose Fund


The purpose of this guideline is to define the use of the Specific Purpose Fund (S0000) and to clarify when a specific purpose project grant (S PG) can be set-up.


  • The S0000 (S) fund records all transactions applicable to external donations, grants and other contributions received for specific purposes other than fee for service (previously F, now G), student awards (W), research (R), capital (P), and agency (Z) funds.
  • The use of the funds is restricted by the donor or granting agency. Documentation is required to support the restriction on the use of funds and/or where the funds should be directed. A specific purpose for which the donation or funding was solicited is also considered restricted.
  • A specific purpose project funded by an internal allocation from restricted Endowment (E) fund should be setup in S fund. Internal allocation from operating fund to S fund is not allowed and matching contributions from operating fund should remain in the same fund code (i.e. G fund). Unrestricted funds, such as G and unrestricted E funds should not be mixed in S fund PG.
  • Non-research contracts provided as backup for S PG requests should be forwarded to the Office of the University Counsel or University Industry Liaison Office for review to ensure compliance to UBC policies, including institutional signature.
  • The term of the S PG if not specified by the donor or granting agency will be a maximum of three (3) years, renewable if justified.
  • Any surplus after the S PG has expired with all requirements fulfilled and no refund requirement will be transferred to an unrestricted fund provided by the department.
  • Generally, S PGs are revenue based with its budget loaded upon receipt of revenues. UBC policy#90 applies to overspent S PGs.
  • Research Finance (RF) is responsible in setting up S PGs.


Request for new S PG

Failure to submit supporting documentation will delay the processing of the application.

  • Submit a completed chartfield request form authorized by the department head or senior finance manager.
  • The chartfield request must be accompanied by a document supporting external restriction on the use of funds and/or where the funds should be directed, such as:
    • gift agreement
    • pledge form
    • solicitation letter
    • communication from donor or granting agency indicating the specific use of funds
    • screenshot (.pdf format) of website page that solicits donations 
  • RF Finance Officer (FO) reviews the backup provided to determine the appropriateness to setup an S PG.
  • RF Finance Officer notifies the department with the S PG number created.

Expired S PG

RF Finance Officer notifies PG Manager/department that S PG is expired and appropriate action is required.

  • Extend the PG end-date, if justified, or
  • Transfer surplus to unrestrictied fund and deactivate the account.
Request for Dept ID# change for an existing S PG

A new S PG number will be created with the requested dept id# to replace the existing S PG.

  • Submit a completed Project/Grant Request form authorized by the department head or senior finance manager requesting for a modification. Indicate the existing S PG number and the requested dept id#.
  • RF Finance Officer will review and notify the department confirming the new S PG number created with the requested dept id#.
  • RF Finance Officer will transfer the cash balance from the existing S PG to the new S PG.
  • The department will be responsible for transferring any YTD balance sheet amounts, commitments and YTD expense totals to the new S PG, if applicable.
  • RF Finance Officer will deactivate the existing S PG after being notified all transfers have been completed.
Unrestricted Research Fund


The purpose of this guideline is to understand unrestricted research fund and establish the process in identifying and transferring balances to appropriate account.


  • Fund code of unrestricted research fund is R2222.
  • Surplus of expired research project/grant (PG) will be classified as unrestricted and moved to principal investigator’s (PI) R2222 PG, if:
    • agreement or award letter indicates that surplus will be retained by the PI/Institution, or
    • agreement or award letter is silent on surplus and it is below 40% of total project funding, or
    • agency/sponsor is invoiced through cost recovery/milestone.
  • Start-up funds from operating fund or from other unrestricted internal sources (such as unrestricted E fund) should be credited to PI’s R2222 PG.
  • Matching contributions for a research project will be setup depending on the source of funds.
    • Source of matching contribution is from unrestricted PG or fund code, matching contribution should be set up in R2222 fund code.
    • Source of matching contribution is from restricted PG or fund code, matching contributions should be setup in R5000 fund code. 
      **List of unrestricted E fund codes is available in FMS or enquire by sending an email to Research Finance.
      **S0000 is restricted fund code
  • External donation with external restriction should not be mixed with PI’s unrestricted PG.
  • PI should use accumulated unrestricted funds for research activities in a broad sense and ensure compliance with ethics requirement, if applicable.
  • UBC policy #90 applies for overspent unrestricted research PGs.


Research Finance, Finance Officer

  • Review expired research PGs on a regular basis to determine if PG with surplus meets the criteria to be categorized as unrestricted
  • Coordinate with PI to confirm the transfer of balance to R2222 PG if one already exists. If not, request the setup of new R2222 PG from ORS
  • Transfer the surplus net of overhead, if PG has an overhead code to PI’s R2222 PG

ORS/UILO Officer

  • Setup new PG with the following information:
    • Fund code: R2222
    • Description: Unrestricted Research Funds
    • PG End Date: 2099
  • A PI may have more than 1 unrestricted PG if separate monitoring and return of surplus to source PG is required. In this case, a new R2222 PG will be setup with the following information:
    • Fund code: R2222
    • Description: usual name or purpose of award
    • PG End Date: award end date
    • RPB to indicate reason for the setup of new unrestricted PG, such as return of surplus to the master PG is required
  • Increase R2222 PG budget as necessary.


  • Request ORS/UILO to increase the budget for revenues credited to R2222 PG and prepare cost reduction entries only when there were previous expenses incurred in the PG.

Applicability: Applies to all faculties and departments

Unidentified Receipts


The purpose of this guideline is to identify a process to address unidentified funds received by UBC. UBC Finance receives numerous cheques and wires from all different sources that cannot be identified to a particular PG. These funds are held in either the Research Suspense Account or the University Suspense Account.


Deposits that remain unidentified for up to three fiscal years remain as an outstanding item in the suspense account. Unidentified deposits greater than three fiscal years are recognized as revenue on an annual basis.

Applicability: Applies to unidentified receipts in the Research and University Suspense Accounts.

Exceptions: There are no exceptions to this guideline.


  • General unidentified deposits on the bank reconciliation relating to the previous fiscal year are transferred to the University Suspense Account annually in March (32G13070 for direct deposits and 32G17524 for wires).
  • Unidentified deposits < three fiscal years remain on the University Suspense Account and Research Suspense Account (32R50000).
    • Unidentified non-research deposits prior to the previous three fiscal years are recognized as revenue and cleared from the University Suspense Account annually in March (32G93105).
    • Research deposits that remain unidentified prior to the previous three fiscal years are either:
      • refunded to agency, or
      • cleared against annual research write-offs in the Suspense Account.
  • If the Department subsequently identifies the funds, a journal can be raised to transfer the funds to the appropriate PG.
Account Code 731200 Usage

For consistency purposes, all funds sent by UBC to other INSTITUTIONS backed by an inter-institutional agreement (IIA) should be charged against a/c code 731200. This includes:

  • funds sent in advance,
  • funds sent on a cost-recovery (invoicing) basis,

Excluding the following:

  • funds sent for studies on basis of patient recruitment/retention or per sample or per item deliverable
  • service payments calculated on a per subject or item basis

A copy of the agreement and the payment schedule pages must be included as backup for the payment. All payments per a/c 731200 require review and approval by Research Finance. The need for financial reporting of funds sent using a/c 731200 will depend upon the nature of the agreement; the FO for the PG sending out the funds will make that determination.

If funds are being sent to other INSTITUTIONS and are not backed by an IIA, then a/c 731200 should not be used; rather the appropriate expense a/c code(s) should be used to process the payment of the invoice.

If payments are being made on a per subject or per item basis, regardless of whether an IIA exists, these should be treated as expenses and coded accordingly.

Funds sent in this manner will not require financial reporting from the recipient, as the categorization of expenses will already be identified at point of processing, and the INSTITUTIONS will be treated as a VENDOR for this type of scenario.

This has applicability across all research funds.


  • Research is often collaborative in nature; many INSTITUTIONS work together on the same project
  • Funding is usually sent to a primary site, with distribution and disbursement of funds to other INSTITUTIONS to be handled either as an accountable advance payment, or reimbursement based on expenses already incurred
  • These INSTITUTIONS are often (but not always) tied by IIA's that spell out funding limits, timelines, reporting requirements, etc.
  • The FO will determine based on the requisition being reviewed whether or not further financial reporting is required. Expenses that do not require further financial reporting will be sent back to the Department to have the account code changed from 731200 to an appropriate expense code. For example: expenses not requiring financial reporting are payments made on a per subject recruited/retained or per sample/item basis.
  • Without an IIA governing the relationship between the two parties, there's no way to enforce reporting requirements and other regular terms and conditions in a traditional collaborative relationship. Hence, the only way the disbursement can be treated is as a payment to a vendor for services rendered/goods received


  • Institution: per TAFAG - "The universities, hospitals, colleges, research institutes, centres and other organizations eligible to receive and manage Agency grant funds on behalf of the grant holders and the Agencies."
  • Inter-Institutional Agreement (IIA): an agreement between two INSTITUTIONS identifying title of project/purpose of research, primary researcher, collaborative researcher, funding limits, payment schedule, timelines, reporting requirements, among other terms and conditions. This agreement formalizes and defines the relationship between INSTITUTIONS and is the foundation upon which funding transfers occur. Agreements can either allow for payments in advance, or reimbursement of expenses after they are incurred by the collaborator.
  • Vendor: a party that provides goods, services, or expertise in exchange for money, without direct influence on the direction of research being conducted.

Applicability: This has applicability across all research funds.


  • If the requisition is generated by ORS/UILO, and a/c 731200 is used, the requisition should be forwarded to the Research Finance, Finance Officer handling the PG from which the money is coming.
  • If the requisition is generated by a Department, and a/c 731200 is used, then the requisition needs to be sent to Research Finance for review. Upon receipt from the Dept, the mail handling clerk will direct the requisition to the appropriate Finance Officer for review. It is the Department's responsibility to ensure a copy of the requisition is provided to ORS/UILO for posting on RISe.
  • The Research Finance, Finance Officer will review the requisition for a number of items, including: is the agreement covering a period within the active period for the grant, is there sufficient funding (current and future year) to cover the payment, are the payment particulars accurate (ie. recipient & receiving INSTITUTION, amounts agreed upon, within funding limits, etc.), proper backup documentation. If any issues with requisition, it will be returned to source for correction and resubmission for review.
  • Once reviewed and no issues to resolve, requisition is initialed by Research Finance FO and passed to admin support clerk to log. Details to log will include Q#, amount, payment destination and recipient (incl. sub-PI's name), contact info. Admin support clerk will then pass the requisition to AP for processing.
  • On a regular basis (weekly/monthly), admin support clerk will monitor for payment of requisition, and will log cheque date and number.
  • At year end (or as needed), Research Finance FOs will determine which amounts require financial reporting, and admin support clerk will send out notification to those institutions requesting financial reporting for sub-grants provided.
Authority to Spend End Date

A new attribute field called “Authority to Spend End Date” was created in FMS in April/2017 for Research and Specific Purpose (R and S) funded PGs.

Its purpose is to identify when expenditures must cease, if different from the PG’s End Date. The processing of payroll appointments in HRMS for R and S funds will now depend on the Authority to Spend End Date.

If no Authority to Spend End Date is shown in FMS, HRMS will default back to using the PG’s end date instead. This replaces the previous payroll control which permitted payroll appointments for R and S funds to go +1 year beyond the PG’s end date (excluding US federal awards).


Requests to update the Authority to Spend End date field can be directed to the Research Finance Officer overseeing the PG – refer to FMS NQuery. Please email your request with supporting backup documentation showing the sponsor’s approval.